Southbound – a poem on child sex trafficking

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Southbound

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She used to be a sturdy branch, proud and blossom-bearing.

Now she is a piece of firewood, split with an ax and used to warm a man for a moment.

She stares from the backseat down a crowded freeway and ponders the irony of that word.

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Westbound

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Cut from her life-source, now unable to bear the weight of fear, it gets so heavy that it crushes young bones.

It leaves her whiskey-scented, terribly fragmented.

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At the Border

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She recalls the shaky voice of her Sunday School teacher, Mrs. Ray, “all things work together for good” and asks herself if this journey could be included in the glorious idea of  “all things”.

Good, at one point surrounded her; it is now a speck on a mountainside with no road leading to – or from – it.

Her one piece of ID is taken. Soon after, another piece is stolen, never to be returned. This one, much more sacred – a blend of body, mind and potential.

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Eastbound

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Her eyes watch the signs blur by and the pavement turn to gravel to dirt

An unsuspecting field her suite, flowing curtains made of wheat

A client tries, her eyes to meet as she lets them close, recalling a song her Mamma lulled, “turn your eyes upon Jesus”.

She waits for things of earth to grow strangely dim.

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Southbound

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Split with an ax by one more of hundreds.

Wholeness is a far-fetched dream of which she cannot afford to let go. There would be but one option left.

Stories of rescue, of raids and redemption resound with hope just palatable enough to grasp in her small hand.

She opens her eyes and discovers what was clenched in her hand: the corner of a stained sheet. Could have sworn she was in a field.

Knuckles turn white from this plight. If her spirit weakens any more, her hope will be reduced to a thread, spinning and taut.

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Southeast bound

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She hears a wrinkled woman humming a hymn & the words come back to her.

Its truth thickens the thread.

She recalls when that freeway used to be a free way,  summons the courage to imagine a listening, loving God and wonders if anyone is praying to him on her behalf.

And just in case they are not, she whispers, “I still believe in you. You are all I have. Free me. Please.”

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Southbound

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